Sarah Powell was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29 years old and subsequently found out she has a BRCA1 mutation. With two young children who may have inherited this increased risk of cancer, she has been a passionate advocate and supporter of Pink Hope since its inception. Sarah brings to Pink Hope a background in corporate banking and events management and being a high-risk individual herself, she knows exactly what’s important to the Pink Hope community.
Sarah was a special guest on Friends With Wendy and Pete
to tell us all about Ovarian Cancer.
World Ovarian Cancer Day on the 8th of May, Pink Hope encouraged Australian women to investigate their family health history, to not only learn the risks surrounding the hereditary condition, but to explore management and treatment options to reduce the risks surrounding ovarian cancer.
In Australia, one in 81 women will develop ovarian cancer at some point in her life. In fact, an estimated five women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every day and sadly one woman dies every eight hours in Australia.
Shockingly, one in seven (15%) cases of invasive ovarian cancer involve the inheritance of a mutated gene. Women who have one or more blood relatives diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a higher risk of developing it themselves.
Sadly, survival beyond five years after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer is only at 46%, meaning genetic testing is a valuable tool for individuals to receive important and potentially life changing knowledge if they have a family history of cancer, to understand and manage the associated risks that come with it. Ovarian cancer is often misunderstood, with the hereditary link not widely known about and the misconception that a pap smear can detect ovarian cancer is common, when in fact a pap smear only screens for cervical cancer. As well as this, ovarian cysts are often assumed to be a type of ovarian cancer, however cysts on the ovaries are common and, in most situations, normal.
Through improved education and awareness of ovarian cancer, women can understand the early signs and symptoms, in order to ensure an earlier diagnosis and better survival outcomes. Having active conversations with a doctor about hereditary concerns is beneficial for a referral to a Family Cancer Clinic, where a Genetic Counsellor can then assess the risk level of an individual.
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